Improving productivity in a temperature calibration laboratory

By R Ainsworth Fluke Calibration


Published in:

Electricity+Control, August 2015

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Read the full article on Improving productivity in a temperature calibration laboratory in PDF format.


Many calibration laboratories and instrument shops face the problem of delivering more accurate calibrations in less time and at lower cost. Although improving quality and performance while reducing cost is a difficult problem, it is also an old problem that manufacturers have been facing for years. Lean manufacturing, a concept pioneered by Toyota, offers an approach that may also benefit service as much as it does manufacturing.

The first step the team took to improve the process was to go to the actual place where the work is done, walk through the entire process and record what they found. During the process they would clean and organise the area, produce a more optimal work flow, and attempt to remove as many timewasters as possible. A team of four people took three days to map, clean and organise the process. Unnecessary items were removed and tools were placed in appropriate locations to help improve process flow. Lean manufacturing tools, including process maps and spaghetti diagrams, helped them to identify problems and create a more optimal future state of the process.

After recording the process steps, the team measured the machine time and operator time required for each step and added it to the map. Once the process map was complete and the timings were added, a number of process bottlenecks became visible. Read the full article for further steps that were taken.


Take note

  • Calibration of instruments is important – but it takes time.
  • Like all processes, calibration can be optimised using well known techniques.
  • The case study shows that a process capacity increase of 40% was achieved in a calibration lab.